Oxybenzone, cinoxate, dioxybenzone…yeah, we can’t pronounce them either. And that should be reason enough to put some time into researching these chemicals, which are actually ingredients, before putting them on your skin and also releasing them into aquatic environments.
There’s heaps of other hard to pronounce names in today’s sunscreen bottles that we use on a frequent basis, like phenylbenzimidazole, menthyl anthranilate and methoxycinnamate.
Yes, sunscreen provides much needed UV protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation reported that each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
But some sunscreens offer protection at a cost to the environment. Many chemicals inside sunscreen bottles have a detrimental effect not only on our bodies – some chemicals have been linked to heightening the risk of cancer – and also on coral reefs.
For example, oxybenzone, an ingredient found in a large amount of sunscreen brands, has been found toxic to young coral, and levels were astonishingly high in the waters surrounding Hawaii, according to a recent report from the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology journal.
Take octinoxate as another example. Also in many of the sunscreens used today, it’s like oxybenzone in that it will absorb UV radiation. Exposure to it can actually awaken dormant viruses within the algae. This can cause them to rapidly multiply, leading to coral bleaching and coral death.
That’s why organic sunscreen is not only something we like; it’s something we recommend.
So what constitutes as safe sunscreen? From our perspective, sunscreen that is made from raw and natural materials.
The motto of Surfscreen Organics is clear, concise and to the point: “Made with ingredients you can read.” The company sells sunscreen lotion for $6.50, and Surfscreen kits for $31.
The company aims to bring the highest quality of product to the market, following both FDA criteria for Sunscreen Products: the FDA Static SPF Test and FDA Critical Wavelength Test. They’re even open to showcasing their data and clinical trials.
Coral Isles Sunscreen is another sunscreen whose mission poses this question: Is your Sunscreen Reef Friendly? The sunscreen is oxybenzone, zinc and titanium-dioxide and paragon free, and the company also serves as a resource for education on the subject. They even claim that if present rates of destruction are allowed to continue, much of the coral reefs on a global scale will likely disappear over the next 30 years.
There’s Raw Elements, too, a sunscreen that has a number one Rating for Safety and Efficacy from The Environmental Working Group, is Non-GMO Project Verified and is also eco and reef safe.
These are not only safe sunscreen options for you and your family; they’re also educational resources to use as we, as a community, aim to protect both our bodies and our environment.